Transas Marine (UK): $28m from Lybia for Coastal Surveillance System
The radar system, which is being provided by marine technology supplier Transas Marine, will cover almost 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) of the country’s coastline, from Tunisia to Egypt.
It is expected to be installed within 16 months, and will also allow the country to identify shipping hazards or ecological problems with greater ease.
The news comes two weeks after the European Commission’s decision to give Libya €50 million (£44 million) to help towards the cost of increasing its border controls.
Many African migrants who wish to illegally enter Europe use Libya as their departure point, risking their lives in poor-quality, overcrowded boats which take them across the Mediterranean sea to Italy.
Christopher Loizou, managing director of Transas’ Mediterranean office, said: “It is an honour for Transas to have been awarded such a prestigious contract and our partnership with the The Libyan Authority for Ports and Maritime Transport will develop over many years to come.”
Dr Emanuela Paoletti, a research officer at the International Migration Institute at Oxford University, who is soon to publish a book on Libyan-Italian migration, said that the initiative was reminiscent of several other projects which have been launched in the past few years.
“Libya has collaborated in similar ways previously with, among others, Russia, France, Serbia and Italy – for example, in 2009 Selex Sistemi Integrati, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, one of the largest industrial and in-tech groups in Italy, was contracted to set up a radar system to monitor the Libyan desert.”
“It remains open to question however whether these measures are a sound and sustainable response to irregular migration,” she added.
Over the past decade, between 20,000 and 30,000 North Africans are believed to have migrated illegally to Italy each year. Since 2009 however, this number has been in decline.
Leah Hyslop – Telegraph